Beijing to appoint Horn of Africa envoy

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, January 8, 2022
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China will appoint a special envoy for Horn of Africa affairs, a move hailed by experts as showing the country's responsibility of being a major country and its constructive role in the conflict-torn region.

The proposal was part of the "Initiative of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa" which was announced by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday after he held talks with Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Raychelle Omamo.

China was ready to propose the initiative to support regional countries in addressing security, development and governance challenges, Wang said, as the Horn of Africa has in recent years experienced conflicts and confrontation.

The Horn of Africa is located on the easternmost part of the African mainland.

Wang said conflicts hampered the region's "tremendous potential for development" and "such a situation should not be allowed to continue".

Wang suggested that the Horn of Africa should strengthen intraregional dialogue, stay out of the geopolitical competition between major countries and hold the region's fate in its own hands.

He proposed holding a peace conference, adding that China would provide necessary support to this process by appointing a special envoy.

"Appointing a special envoy is a shared aspiration of China and countries in the region," said Li Wentao, deputy director of the Institute of African Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

China responded to African countries' appeals as the situation in the region was getting more complicated, and meanwhile countries in the Horn of Africa trusted China and believed it could help mediate and resolve regional contradiction with a just and fair attitude, Li added.

Li also noted that China's special envoy could engage in shuttle diplomacy in the region and contribute China's wisdom and approach to solving problems.

Wang said that countries in the region should accelerate regional revitalization and explore effective ways to overcome governance challenges, saying that China supported the region's countries in seeking development paths that suit their own national conditions.

Wang called on countries in the region to properly handle various ethnic, religious and regional disputes in an African way, and build a united, stable and harmonious environment for development in the Horn of Africa.

Zeng Aiping, deputy director of the Department for Developing Countries Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, lauded the initiative as an inclusive one, saying it would form synergies to promote peace and development.

He said China never imposed its model on others but encouraged the Horn of Africa to strengthen exchanges on national governance, share useful experiences with each other, and overcome governance bottlenecks.

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